The myth of ‘breast implant illness’ When misinformation amongst physicians causes harm
I have been practising plastic surgery in Banff for 35 years. Recently, about two weeks after my patient underwent a breast augmentation procedure, she developed an itchy rash all over her back. When I learned that an ER physician told her that she could be allergic to her breast implants, I was shocked. read more
It seems you can’t open a magazine, turn on the TV, or even sit down to a holiday family dinner these days without hearing the word “keto.” What exactly is keto, and why should we as healthcare providers be paying attention? read more
Things I learned in my first ten months of practice
Attention fellow new-in-practice physicians and residents: here are ten pieces of wisdom I’d like to pass on from my first ten months of practice as a family physician. read more
In With the New Moving Through Change with a Patient-Focused Healthcare System
Healthcare is always an election issue in Alberta — and rightly so, as it accounts for more than 35 per cent of the provincial budget. read more
Show Me The Money
This memorable line from Jerry Maguire danced in my head as I ruminated after the CMA presentation given at the most recent AMA Representative Forum this past March. The activation of my irritated emotional quotient highlighted the fact that the residue from the MD-Scotia transaction had yet to wash away. And, judging by the pleasant feedback given by many of those in attendance, the same may be said for them. read more
Keep the Story Flowing: A Family Doc Perspective on the Coming of Connect Care and CII/CPAR
Connect Care and CII/CPAR will be a transformational change for the health system in Alberta. Connect Care will bring under one umbrella all of the varied health information systems working within Alberta Health Services, and whether you work in an AHS facility or not, this change will impact all health care providers. read more
Urgency and the Hot Hand
Sounds like a fantastic name for an Arcade Fire tribute band. Unfortunately, this sentiment rings true for an ongoing challenge: continuity with patient flow between care in the Acute setting, to follow-up in the Community clinic. read more
Would You Vote for a Doctor?
The famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.” There is an upcoming election here in Alberta, and a number of doctors have added their names as candidates. read more
Breaking in Beaker, Part 2: Data Privacy, Access and Utilization
The AHS describes Connect Care as a “common provincial clinical information system” meant to make healthcare data more secure and accessible between physicians and their patients, as well as among healthcare providers in general. The AHS has partnered with the company Epic Systems Corporation (referred to here at EPIC) to help run this new program. read more
The “F” Words of Medicine
Open any medical dictionary and under the ‘ f ’, you will find a rich cadre of polysyllabic constructs one can use to connect with colleagues and wow your friends. Amidst all of them are two four-letter elements that, upon utterance, tend to bring on a hyperbolic adrenal response: FREE and FORM. read more
Lies, Damn Lies and Stat/E6
Canadians wait in line. We may not enjoy it, but we pride ourselves on the orderly way that this leads to things like serving coffee or access to the urinal. So what if it became widely known that in a much more important line-up, people cut in regularly for no justifiable reason at all? read more
Rohingya Genocide – a Forgotten Crisis
Over the past year, I’ve provided medical care in the refugee camps that sprouted up on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. It was overwhelming, seeing the mass of human misery. Diseases like malaria and polio were endemic, and most if not all refugees had experienced some form of physical or sexual abuse. read more
Vital Signs | October 2018
We Live in Changing Times…Or Do We?
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) held its inaugural Health Summit along with its annual General Council (GC) in Winnipeg in August. As an AMA delegate to the meetings, I feel fortunate to have been a part of the events. read more
Vital Signs | September 2018
Beginnings and Endings
September seems a time of new beginnings. Whether or not we have children in our homes, the “back-to school” mindset is upon us. The relaxed pace of life over the summer gives way to an urgency to pick up where we left off in June, when sunny skies and warm weather beckoned more than our workplace to-do lists. read more
How to Give to Charity in a Strategic and Meaningful Way
More and more, people want to focus their volunteer time and money on charities that are close to their hearts, and they want to know their gifts are making a difference. And physicians are no different.
Vital Signs | July 2018
The refined transitions of management and flow of information will lead to better outcomes for both patients and providers throughout the province. However, as transitions in systems do bring opportunity, they to come with questions regarding accountability and responsibility.
Management A Leading Question?
Transitions involve change. Management and leadership are crucial to the success of individuals, teams, and organizations during times of change. Individuals need encouragement and direction; teams need plans and resources; organizations need vision and measurable objectives.
Vital Signs | June 2018
“Call a Code!”
“Call a Code!” For most of us who are clinicians, that call brings a surge of adrenaline and an instinctual leap to act. As the familiar scene of chest compressions, airway management and crash carts plays out, the Code Team comes together at their cue to perform the dance of resuscitation.
Are You Ready?
Some of my colleagues have — either willingly or quite unexpectedly — entered into trauma scenes. Some brave souls have signed up for missions, service projects or military duty in conflict zones. Others have been going about their usual work, only to have fire or flood break out upon their community, causing them and those around them to quickly evacuate. read more
Vital Signs | May 2018
Time is muscle: Central Alberta Community Cardiac Awareness
“TIME IS MUSCLE”; the longer the delay in opening blood vessels, the larger the heart damage and higher the mortality and disability. The best therapy for opening occluded cardiac arteries is Percutaneous Coronary Angioplasty (PCA).
Vital Signs | April 2018
Things They Didn’t “Teach” in Medical School — or Did They?
Medical Administration — Ahhh! — The specialty that most physicians love to hate and some, like me, hate to love! All of my medical administrative experiences have been challenging, exciting, humbling and rewarding all at the same time. These opportunities have spanned the city, the province and now multiple international arenas.. read more
Managing Compassion Fatigueis an Organizational Responsibility
Compassion fatigue. That niggling feeling like, “How can I care for anyone else if I can’t even keep myself together?” Maybe you think you’re not legitimately cut out to be a caregiver. Maybe you feel like you signed the Oath of Hypocrites rather than Hippocrates.
Vital Signs | March 2018
Technology, Freud and the Overtaxed Ego
My teachers lied to me. I’m sure they didn’t mean to — but think about it. When we were learning multiplication tables, they said, “You won’t always have a calculator in your pocket.” We had to learn to spell words correctly, even tricky words like pneumonia. And then there were all the countries and their capital cities.
When my colleagues ask me about my specialty, I explain that I am trained in interventional pulmonology. Many have not heard of this specialty and inevitably ask me what specifically I do. In essence, interventional pulmonology is a maturing sub-specialty of pulmonary medicine using minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat a variety of pulmonary diseases.